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Land Rover Defender 130 2023: stretched three-row luxury off-roader previewed in patent drawings

John Law

Land Rover’s biggest vehicle, the Defender 130, will be positioned as a luxury eight-seat off-roader to take on the BMW X7 and Cadillac Escalade

The forthcoming 2023 Land Rover Defender 130 has been exposed in a set of drawings submitted to the United States patent office that reveal the new three-row off-roader’s extended-length proportion and size.

While the 130’s final unveil is understood to still be some time away, the stretched Defender is just that: a longer Defender 110 with seating for eight.

And unlike the three-door Defender 90, the 130 will not ride on a modified wheelbase. Instead, it will maximise third-row room by using a stretched rear overhang, Holden Brougham-style

Land Rover Defender 130 2023 rear
Look at that rear overhang – the 130 will use the same wheelbase as the shorter 110

With the Defender’s commercial-vehicle heritage in the United Kingdom, there is also potential for a ute variant, which JLR vehicle program executive director Nick Collins told UK outlet Autocar Land Rover already had customer demand for. There are “no structural limitations” to producing a Defender pick-up, according to Mr Collins. 

For now though, the production Defender 130 will adopt a premium position in the Land Rover line-up as a rival for the Audi Q7, BMW X7 and Mercedes-Benz GLS-Class in Australia. In the United States, the lengthy Defender will also have to fend off the Cadillac Escalade.

Understandably, the full-fat, new-generation Range Rover is still the JLR product to buy if you’re chasing uncompromised opulence, but the Defender 130 will still provide plenty of comfort while retaining its hallmark off-road capability. 

What differentiates the Defender 130 from the 110?

While we’ve only seen a handful of spy shots and these technical patent drawings to hint at what to expect from the Defender 130, it isn’t too hard to imagine what a stretched Defender will offer when it goes on sale.

Land Rover Defender 130 2023 front
You can see how similar the front section of the Defender 130 is to the 110

The new 130 will certainly be long, measuring around 5380mm, which is 358mm more than the 5018mm Defender 110, though the two off-roaders will ride on the same 3022mm wheelbase. 

That will put the Defender between a traditional three-row luxury SUV like the BMW X7 (5151mm long) and the monstrous Jeep Gladiator ute (5591mm) in terms of exterior dimensions, but bang on the length of a Cadillac Escalade (5382mm).

As for its benefits, the longer Defender 130 will offer seating for eight, with the addition of a middle seat in the third row. While there is no confirmation on its seating configuration as yet, offering optional captain’s chairs in the middle row – like the Hyundai Palisade – could maximise comfort.  

With the Defender 110 positioned as the option to suit most buyers, the 130 will instead aim at the premium end of the market. Pitched as a “premium explorer” by Land Rover, it’s likely  only the more powerful six-cylinder petrol and diesel powertrains, and the flagship 404kW supercharged petrol V8, will be offered. 

When will the Defender 130 go on-sale?

Documents including information of the short-wheelbase Defender 90 that leaked in 2019 suggested that the stretched Defender 130 is likely to be unveiled some time in 2022. 

Currently the Defender 110 is one of the two configurations on-sale in Australia – could the 130 become the third?

The appearance of a prototype in testing last year and these new patent documents add credence to that claim. 

While there is currently a broad range of Defender variants and models offered in Australia (15 to be precise), it is unclear whether the lengthened 130 will make an appearance once it launches.

Were the Defender 130 to hit Australian shores, it would likely be offered exclusively in high-spec HSE trim and command north of AU$140,000 before on-road costs.